The World as Seen by Miroslav Janek

Watch an online retrospective of films by Miroslav Janek in the course of two December weeks. DAFilms.com presents ten of his films until Sunday, December 20 for free.

Czech documentary director, cinematographer and editor Miroslav Janek started his career in the 1970s by a number of short 16mm films. “I have been photographing since I was ten and making amateur films since I was fifteen,” says Miroslav Janek about his beginnings. In 1980, he emigrated to the United States where he worked as editor and cinematographer and where he also directed a number of his films. These include Little City in Space set in Minneapolis. As an editor, he also collaborated with Godfrey Reggio on his famous documentary features (visual essays with a soundtrack by Philip Glass) Powaqqatsi, Naqoyqatsi and the short film Anima Mundi. He later lived and worked in Italy. After his return to the Czech Republic in 1996, he has been active as a filmmaker and lecturer in the field of documentary film. He lectures at Prague’s FAMU.

He made films dealing with people on the edge of the society (Kha-Che-Pae, The Unseen, Vierka) that are characterized by empathy without pathos. He has also captured the poetic style of the theatre of the Forman brothers (Purple Sails, Baroque Opera) and dealt with biographic themes (Burning about Czech filmmaker Drahomíra Vihanová). Janek’s most famous project is probably Citizen Havel, a film about Czech ex-president Václav Havel; he finished the film after the death of Pavel Koutecký. He has also portrayed members of the elites of Czechoslovak dissent in his films Andrej Krob on the Move and Olga; the latter introduces the personality of Olga Havlová. He has also made an unusual portrait of the iconic figure of Czech underground Vratislav Brabenec in The Gospel according to Brabenec. His filmography further includes a documentary mapping 50 years of Karlovy Vary IFF called Film Spa. He is currently making a new film.

Photo: KVIFF.

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